Summer reading reflection


Everyone wants to make a difference to the world and it’s a good thing to do as a human being on this planet. There was a guy who came up with a genius and creative idea to help the kids in Argentina who lived in the poverty situation that lacked shoe, meaning many of them were barefoot at that time. There were many people who tried to solve this problem but there was a big issue, the project realized on donors which lead them to have a lack of control on the supply, especially the correct sizes of the shoe to give out to the kids in need. That was why Blake Mycoskie, now a founder of TOMS came up with the thoughtful idea where he wanted to create a shoe charity sustainable business (TOMS) to help the kids in need. So his formula was that when he sold a pair of shoes then give out a pair of shoes to the kids that were barefoot. But without the effort, all the hard works that his team put into the project, especially the elements and strategies that involved in the business, TOMS won’t exist till today.      


In 2006, Blake Mycoskie took some time off from his work to travel to Argentina just to relax and enjoy the culture there. He spent his time learning the national dance, playing the national sport and drinking the national wine. He also noticed that everyone in the cities to farmers and students wear the traditional shoe, the alpargata. In his mind was that maybe there is a market in the US for the traditional shoe but his mission here is not supposed to work so he didn’t care much about it. And here was where the story had begun. One day he met an American woman in the cafe who was a volunteer who gives out shoe to the kids in need. She explained that many kids who lived in the poverty villages were lacked shoe which means many of them were barefoot. Her team realized on the donors which mean they had a lack of control of the shoe supply. Even though, there were large quantities of the shoe but often not the correct sizes. So there are still many kids who were barefoot after the shoe dropped. His first thought was to create his own shoe charity where he would ask his friends, families, and others for money and buy the correct shoe sizes for the kids in need. But this won’t be sustainable, it will work if there a donor but if there aren’t any donors it won’t work. So the only way that it could make the project sustainable was to create a business and his plan was to sell a pair of shoes and give out a pair of shoes. Mycoskie started to work with Alejo, who was a polo teacher. He started with a simple design that similar to the traditional shoe, the Alpargata as a sketched. After they got the design, they traveled and hope to find a shoemaker that could work with them. After a long traveled they found an old shoe factory that agreed to work with them. So they asked the factory to make 250 pair of shoes at the first start. He returned back to Los Angeles with those shoes in the bag. Mycoskie had no idea what will happen next, he returned back with a great product but he had no experience at all with fashion and don’t know how to get people or the local stores pay for the product. Because of he didn’t know any fashion business, he decided to meet his friends and get their advice like the design style, the TOMS idea and the suggested store the interested with the shoe. Just the shoe itself, it was not interesting for the stores or sellers but the story of TOMS where Mycoskie wanted to help the kids it makes the shoe business even more powerful and important for both buyers and sellers. Once he got this rolling everyone started to buy the shoes from more stores and celebrities. Moreover, there was many news of TOMS on the front page which leads more people to buy the shoes until he needed to manufacture more shoes for the customers. Every business, no matter how big or small it is, they always face the fear along the way. But it just about one thing if you want to be successful, Face Your Fear. As an example for TOMS, they have not experienced at all with fashion but they faced their fear, try hard in the team to find the solution, talked to people who have experienced that could help to solve the problem. If you scared the fear you already failed, you haven’t tried it out yet. Even though you didn’t succeed in the first time but that’s not failed, it just a lesson you can learn from it. So failure does not exist unless you do not try your best to face your fear. Blake Mycoskie was a young businessman, he just does what he loves and his passion even though he knew that TOMS just a simple business to help kids in need. So from time to time, TOMS got a few volunteers, who willing to help and work with TOMS to improve the business. I noticed something here form the author that quoted the phrase Be resourceful without resources. As an example for TOMS, Mycoskie used his apartment to run the business, the kitchen was covered by many boxes of shoes and his bedroom used for a meeting with the vendors. It’s sounds a bit silly but it’s something we should appreciated, not only TOMS that started like this but if we look Apple or Facebook they all were started in a small tiny room just like TOMS. As I mentioned earlier sometimes you don’t need the expert to help you with the businesses or projects but it can just simple as your friends or families to help too give you advice. Like just what Mycoskie did with TOMS at the start, he went out with his friends and asked them for advice with his new project. When TOMS becomes a large well known company, Mycoskie didn’t make his company looked fashionable or stylish but instead he tried to reuse the furniture what left in the building from the previous business. The employee’s desk just simple as a wooden desk and everyone stay close together except there was a divider between the desk. It was a smart efficient way to organize the company, it helped the employees to stayed close together so whenever there is a problem it helps the communication efficiency between the employees. Every single person, project or business should be trusted whether it is trusted for customer, partner or just simply as the employee itself. TOMS won’t exist till today if there is no trust between the employees and the customers. If we look at about 10 years ago TOMS was just a small business that founded by a young man, Blake Mycoskie. But now TOMS worth over 625 million dollars and from the past 7 years they gave out shoes for the kids in need around the world for about 10 million pairs of shoes.

 In conclusion, I learned so many things from this book not just how TOMS started but it’s about how Blake Mycoskie deal with all the problems that TOMS faced from the start. Moreover, without the elements that I mentioned above and how Mycoskie get those elements involved with the business, TOMS won’t exist till today. I also love the way that the author organized the book. At first, the author gave a brief introduction of how TOMS started, then the author introduced the readers of the elements that get involved with TOMS with some examples. The author not just give the examples of how TOMS uses the elements but the author also gives many others examples of businesses that had a similar strategy or method. These type of trying can help the readers to get a larger understanding of the elements and it unique from other books. Lastly, I highly recommend everyone to read this book, especially who have an idea to start a charity projects or businesses that will cause a huge drama impact to the world.